Thursday, 24 December 2009

Slowest Internet in the World!!!

Sky, Sky Sky! We were supposed to get our Sky TV etc set up on Sunday (last Sunday) but they never came due to the weather. We were supposed to get our Internet set up on Wednesday but oh no, no Internet till you get the TV!! When are we getting the TV, next Sunday. But for some reason the Internet this time might not be set up until 15 (that's right, count 'em 15!) days after the TV! How much time does it take to press the Go button!!! So I am working on Internet supplied via a mobile phone plugged into the PC, it is generally slower than 56k dial up!

Ah well!! But its CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And we have been majorly busy trying to get the house sorted before then. We completed the Dining Room:

And it really looks great! We have even managed to pick Christmassy colours!! I have also been trying my hand at a few handicrafts. Main project was a wreath with some of the Holly from the bush outside and some left over Xmas decorations. I think it looks rather good, even if I do say so myself!

Next on my list was the Christmas Baking. I had decided that sweet things was the way to go so I went for Vanilla Biscuits and Spiced Orange biscuits with an Orange Icing!

There was also Christmas cake for all! I had bought myself a great new pan that meant I could make 12, 3inch, square cakes, in the one tin. This means I have nice little gift cakes to give away!!
And finally the mince pies, can't go wrong with Mince Pies! This was using my own mincemeat and a nice sweet pastry!
We have got a nice roast for tomorrow and there will be plenty of trimmings!!! Will report as often as I can!

Have a great Christmas People!!

Merry Christmas from the Farm!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Let It Snow!

Well we have had our snow, and by gum we have had our snow! We must have 3 inches (4 if you stand in a deep bit) and it has become somewhat treacherous to get out of the yard! As a result we have no Internet, still! The guy decided it was too bad weather to make the trip up our hill so we have to wait till after Christmas before we get set up. So all the post ideas that I had ready for this week are all going to be late! But I thought I would share with you this little recipe that I have just found which I am looking forward to trying. Nothing says Xmas like Mulled Wine but what about the kids, those who don't like wine (raises hand) or those, like I will have as most of my guests next week, who have to drive afterwards? How about Mulled Apple Juice? This seemed like such a simple recipe that I knew I had to give it a shot, so next week I will but I thought I'd share the recipe with you now in case you wanted to use it for your own celebrations - if you don't want to risk it till I've tried it, you'll need to wait till the 30th!!

Serves 6
  • 1.5 Litres (50 fl oz) apple juice
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons allspice
  • peel of 1 0range
  • peel of 1 lemon

You could even use one of those mulled wine spice bags, instead of creating your own spice bag!


  1. Pour the apple juice into a large saucepan, and add the maple syrup and allspice.
    Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, orange peel and lemon peel into a muslin spice bag, secure with kitchen string and drop the spice bag into the mixture.
  2. Simmer the saucepan on medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture is very hot (but not boiling). Remove and discard the spice bag.
  3. Ladle the cider into big cups or mugs, adding a fresh cinnamon stick to each serving if desired.

If anyone gives this a shot before I do then please, come back and tell us how it went. Perhaps any changes to the recipe!

I am going to try and get some photos up for you all, I have so many waiting but since the Sky Man Never Cometh they are all still waiting!! It is quite frustrating not having the ability to easily pop pictures on here, thanks to all for hanging around, normal service will be resumed as soon as I can!!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Plant a Tree!

Tour, Tour Reviews, Travel Guides, Places to see - RubaRuba Ponzi Tree Contest - Tours, Tour Reviews, Travel Guides

Thanks to Allotments for You I have decided to join the online phenomena (Yes, I think it could be called that!) that is Ponzi!

With this scheme you show the badge (left) on your blog and for every badge posted Pozi will plant a tree. For every CLICK on a badge they will also plant a tree! I figure that this is a reasonable scheme to get involved in!!

We are looking to plant some trees around the ol' farmstead so I thought why not get involved with a nationwide scheme - and it is so easy!

So join in if you fancy it!!

So what has been going on? Well, we still don't have an Internet at home, which is why the posts are few and far between, but we are preparing for Christmas. I have been baking in the kitchen and I will share those wonders with you in due course! We have also been desperately trying to get the dining room decorating so we can start decorating the house with Christmas Decorations, still haven't got a tree up yet!!

It is starting to get pretty frosty here, the frost usually doesn't even have time to melt before the next wave sets in and snow has supposedly been forecast for later this week. Quite looking forward to that!!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Getting Ready For Xmas... Mincemeat

Well, I decided that all work and no play makes for a very dull life and in this case would make for a Christmas without mince pies! So I decided a week or so back to make up my mincemeat, just to give it a wee while to "get tasty" before I start the big pie bake!!

So using my Mincemeat Recipe:

1 Bramley Apple
300g Raisins
300g Currants
250g shredded suet
250g muscavado sugar
85g mixed peel, chopped
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of mixed spice
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
100ml whisky (optional, I don't use it as we don't like it but feel free - glug away!)

See Full Instructions

After a rather sticky time, I always get in a mess peeling apples, have no idea why, it was into the jars for my mincemeat to await "The Time of the Baking"! These jars are now in my larder cupboard and are looking good! I shall update this with the Mince Pie excitement after they are cooked. I am also going to be making my Xmas Cake soon, I don't do the dark cake which is why I get away with leaving it so late!!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

I'm Still Here!! And it's Nearly Christmas!! But Where's the Tree!!?

So, what has been going on! Well it has been a busy week and we in no way got done what we wanted to! The Dining Room which we had figured would take a week to do has now crept into its second week. This was due mainly to the fact that we thought that painting over the old paint would be fine but it appears that is not the case! We came down the next morning to several patches of peeling paint! So we had to troop to the DIY Store and bought some lining paper which we have now mostly put up. We had a section of plaster above the fireplace fall out so we are waiting on the repair job to dry before we continue!

The floor does look good though! I said I would try and get photos of Farm guy trying to sand the whole lot with a Hand Sander, and I believe I was taking bets on how long it would take before he decided it was a bad idea.. Well, anyone who said an Hour and a half, you win! He decided so fast I didn't even get any photos :( I was upstairs painting and before I know it he announces that we need a floor sander cos "this sucks!" So, after this declaration of suckiness, a floor sander was duly hired and the learning curve began.... but I think he did pretty well, took two days and as you can see everything got VERY dusty!

After the sanding it is my time to shine! After a lot of hoovering and brushing, and more hoovering and a little sweeping and a wipe down with White Spirit and a bit of drying it was time to get varnishing. It was going to need three coats of...
So, scooting about in my socks, in the middle of the night, (working really does get in the way of fun!) I set to work transforming this canvas to a hardwood masterpiece! Finally it was done and we love the look of it! We are so pleased we have decided that the living room floor will be done in the same vein once we get around to it!

So the floor was a big success and as soon as we get that, quite frankly revolting, paint covered up and the new "do" put on there will be a room ready for all the stuff that is piled up in the living room! And then!!! Christmas Tree!!!! WooHoo!!

Friday, 4 December 2009

The Room that Is..

You may remember that the bathroom looked a little like this when we first moved in. And just for the record, it was a bit whiffy, as the outflow from the toilet was damaged – not leaking but exuding pong!
Well, we have been working away at it (apologies before we start about the photos, the room is quite narrow and it is hard to get the angle right!). We took out the old suite, don’t worry, that wonderful bath has been saved and is waiting to be re-enamelled and re-used in the new bathroom (when we finally get to extend). A brand new bathroom suite and shower got fitted by our friendly local plumber and is looking good. We got the cheapest toilet and sink suite as we could, but decided to splash out on a nicer shower unit and cubicle.

Then we needed the plasterers in to smooth of the walls as after the old suite was taken out things looked decidedly, ummm, rubbish!

Doing this actually made the room feel really dark and it was SO dusty. If you got out the shower you had to get dressed quick or else you just felt dirtier than you had before. So it was time to hit the shops and get some paint. Again we went with the cheapest we could find as this room is likely to be changed..

A nice sky blue, that certainly brightens the place up! Just need to sort out that floor now!

After 4 hours, yes FOUR, (finishing at 2am!!) we managed to get the flooring down and I think it looks pretty snazzy!! It is certainly much more pleasant to use now, ahhhhh, one room done!!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

So, this is a bit late but never-the-less represents part of an entire day's working in the decorating section of the renovation (namely the stairwell in this case!). See if you can guess what it is? It comes in two very long boxes and is ridiculously heavy! (Gotta LOVE that wallpaper and the attractive Plaster Fresh walls!!)

Once it is out of the boxes there are hundreds of parts, this is a selection of them, there was a load in the working room behind me too. It was quite a challenge to put together, but apart from one section where I needed to lift the whole thing while inserting slot A into notch B, wasn't going to be doing THAT on my own, i did it all myself!! *Insert Smug Grin*

This particular item had caused us a lot of grief as we had a choice of two but all depended on the simple fact, what fitted into the car!! This one was the winner and so was chosen from the great flat-pack heaven that is Ikea, to come home with us!

We are a house of expert flat packers now after the kitchen - see Kitchen Posts. Or should that be expert flat un-packers or indeed un-flat de-packers?!

As you can see I had all the help I needed from a rather handsome young gentleman caller. Yes, Monty, always on hand to lend a paw, particularly if it involves anything with boxes!

Can you tell what it is yet? This photo also lets you have a sneaky peak at the newly decorated bedroom.. oooo was that a hint on the identity of our flat-packed friend!!

Did you guess Cat Bed of monstrous proportions?......

....then sorry, you guessed wrong, although Monty is in FULL agreement with you! It was in fact a wardrobe. TADAAAA! There is also a chest of drawers to go all with this but it didn't get the Press attention as it was getting dark and the photos looked silly with the flash!!

So, we now have a place to put all our clothes, finally, the days of living out of suitcases and bin liners is over! Phew....!

Monday, 30 November 2009

Down on the Farm..

So, another busy weekend, many things being done in the house but there is plenty time in the week for all that hustle and bustle. Lest just spend some quiet time down in the garden. I finally got around to planting out the strawberries which had become somewhat feral in their 'Moving Day Pot', so they don't half look straggly!

Although it is several weeks past when I should have been putting them out, they seem a lot happier with some room to move and they have produced a nice lot of little runners which have joined them in the plot. Now it is down to some serious growing guys....

And what is this that has joined them? Oh yes, it is garlic. Now normally I wouldn't put garlic and Strawberries together but there is only one prepared bed and this is where they will have to go.

The Garlic that I planted in the container is already raring to go and has plenty of healthy looking green shoots so I am hoping that this lot can catch up. Probably about 30 plants in total planted, many another 10 in the container, so a very garlicky year 2010!

I went for a nice soft stemmed, I hope, garlic cos I want to try my hand at a bit of plaiting next year, watch this space for the, no doubt, comic attempts later in the year!!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Farm Dad - What's he been up to?

My dad has been a godsend and if it weren't for him, truly we could not have managed what we have so major hugs and love to him for that!

But apart from being around to let in (and keep an eye on ) the tradesmen, accept deliveries, supply tools for us and general be great, what has he been up to? Well, we already know about his handling of the placement of the kitchen - see The Kitchen is Complete & The Kitchen Progresses, but dad is quite the Joiner, and loves getting stuck in, and has made some great changes to the house!

Well, his first port of call was the living room, it had dodgy floorboards in places and the fitted cupboard under the window was full of wet rot and wood worm: So Dad, got stuck in, out came the floorboards and any offending wood around the window (which in the end was all of it!)
...and down went the new boards. The floor below is concrete so no worries about joists!:

Next the fitted cupboard got a great revamp, old wood out, new wood in. The old shelf and top were saved as we spotted that they were made of great wood, even if they were covered in many, many years of varnish! But after some TLC they came up great:

Then it was a case of varnishing it up and finishing the surrounds for the cupboard.

Just the sides and doors to add now! However, Farm Dad does the props for the local amateur dramatics society and they are currently preparing for their Panto, so he had to head home to put his creativity to use on a more dramatic level! So there will be more from Farm Dad later...

Friday, 20 November 2009

When The Cat Went Up the Chimney...

Our cat Monty featured in such posts as: Cartoon Cat & Upside Down Cat is a scaredy cat in the perfect sense. He is particularly bright but his first reaction with anything, and I do mean ANYTHING, is to run away. He runs away and then immediately turns back and goes to investigate the new thing, this includes his mum (me), his brother, cat food tins, strange paper bags and whenever Farm Guy stands up. This has got him in many scrapes, including being stuck up a tree, locked in the shed and in the attic and under the bed. In his latest exploit the scary-thing was one of the tradesmen, come round to collect his pay.
Farm guy answered the door and dealt with the monetary issue (I spend, he pays!! :O) ). He then came up the stairs to where I was laboriously painting the bedroom wall.
'Think Monty's up the chimney' says Farm Guy 'He's completely disappeared.'
We both troop down, while I think, I have no idea how to get a cat out of a chimney! Luckily we arrive in the living room to see what is now a completely black cat emerging from the chimney asking what the fuss was about. Phew!
Monty was given 24 hours to clean himself up (which he didn't, Monty isn't into personal hygiene) so I just had to wipe his face and neck cos I couldn't bear to see him looking such a state: although admittedly he didn't look much better after his wipe down!

At least he's black and grey now rather than black and black!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The Kitchen is Complete..

So, with the exception of the decorating the kitchen is finished and in use! And it is great, apart from the fact that it is FREEZING!!! There is central heating in the house but for some reason unknown to the layman, not in the kitchen so it is pretty chilly in the morning and evenings. Unfortunately we can't even leave a door open into the living room for second hand heat as it just steals it all and makes the living room cold too! The washing machine is great but the tumble dryer out-appliance's it! We have been used to a washer dryer that if you showed it a pair of jeans would just sit there getting hot! So a dryer that can do a whole load is just amazing!! So, a little kitchen re-cap...

It all began with this:

Quite quickly became this:

A brief layover with this:

And finally, we can reveal the new improved kitchen with units, please excuse the walls (no idea when we'll get them done!)

Ta Da Da Da Da Da DAAAAAAAAA.....

These cabinets are all Farm Guy and Farm Dad's handy work (with brief help from me and Farm Aunt and Uncle!) You can see more of the kitchen exploits on the How the Kitchen Progresses post - where you can also see the lovely yellow colour it will all become, when I get round to painting the other half of the room!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Farm Animal Selection

Wannabe Farm-Dog!

Yes, we have photos back - brace yourselves!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Still Without Connection...

I hate not having the Internet at home! It means I cannot share all the photos I have taken! My plan for getting them up failed: but I have another! So bear with me! Until then you will have to put up with this horrid “Update” graphic... ah well!

I guess you all wanted to know whether or not there was news over the weekend, well there was, but nowhere near as exciting as I was hoping! We had discussed the possibility of getting a pickup truck for the farm, so Farm Guy and I headed over to a local used car place to take a look at a Ford Pickup. It was good, we liked it. It was pretty old but we figured that it would do for our needs but the question we had to ask ourselves was did we really need it Now. There are certainly jobs around the farm that could be helped with the presence of a truck of some kind but were there enough of them at the present moment to justify the expense of buying, insuring and taxing a third vehicle? So, after much deliberation, and a bit of sadness (I’ve always wanted a pick-up) we decided against it, for the time being. It was probably the best bet we have more pressing matters to attend to…

Like decorating, we got the bedroom finished, just needs the carpet properly fitted and the woodwork round the window done and we can rest easy. (I do have a photo and I will post it as soon as I can!) Just the kitchen and second sitting room to do… and the bathroom and the main living room… and the hall… will it ever end!? We are getting a wardrobe next weekend however, and there are even murmurings about a deep freeze!

Down in the garden I finally got round to releasing the strawberry plants from their transport tub and got them into the ground in their new bed. I also got round to planting the rest of my garlic... so, so far our self sufficiency extends to Strawberries and Garlic, if anyone knows a recipe involving both of them, please let us know!! (Again, photos to come!)

Friday, 13 November 2009

The Latest on the Farm

Unfortunately I am still without proper Internet access at the moment so I am afraid that photos will be thin on the ground, although I think that I may have come up with a sneaky solution to that, watch this space.

What has been happening on the farm? Well, we are still living in essentially three rooms out of the 6 available and even these rooms are pretty sparse! Farm Guy keeps walking into our living room and saying, 'this is depressing, we must decorate it', which is a different tune from way-back-when when he was saying that the living room looked alright and we should leave it.

The plasterers are now finished, except for the bathroom, which they will return to do next Thursday. We are hoping to get some of the decorating done this weekend, I have challenged myself with finishing the decorating in the bedroom - mainly because we don't have any furniture, beyond the bed, and it will be easier to decorate with a nice open space!

Farm Guy is hoping to make a start on the secondary living room, which will be an office, we are going to sand the floors, and in his usual attempt to save a few pounds wants to try doing it with a belt sander first (I know, I know, you don't need to tell me!). I will DEFINITELY be giving updates on that attempt! Also, taking bets on how long it takes before he decides hiring a floor sander is the best idea - there is a reason they are called FLOOR sanders!

There is also the question of the kitchen and what we can get done in there too! There is still lining paper to hang, a hole to fill and some painting to do! It is looking good though, probably the best in the house. Once I get photos up I shall do a post on the woodwork that dad has been undertaking around the place too!

We may have some fun news after this weekend.... but then again we may not.... guess you'll just have to wait and see!!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

I've Won an Award!

Thanks to Tanya at Allotments 4 You for nominating me for this award! This is the first award for the Realising The Dream blog!
This award is presented from one blogger to another to say:

"Well Done! Big Thumbs Up! Love the Blog!"

So thanks once again to Tanya, it's great to know that the blog is entertaining and of interest to people because it is a lot of fun for me too!
So, I would like to nominate the following blogs for this award:

I apologise for the list being shorter than 15 but you will not be disappointed with these tasty morsels of the blogging world!


1. Anyone awarded with this one must pass this “BEST BLOG” Award to 15 bloggers who he/she thinks have the best and greatest blogs.
For the new awardee…

2. To receive and accept this award.
Copy and save the award
Make a post in your blog about the award, like this one, but write in your own words, or at least a reasonable facsimile.
In your post, mention the name of the blogger who awarded you, and include a link to their blog.

Monday, 9 November 2009

The Big Day Arrived!!! & the 100th Post!!

So, the day finally came and we were ready to move! Friday night we picked up the van and squeezed it down our little town centre street. We had to park it up on the pavement as there isn't anywhere near enough room for it on the road AND for people to be able to drive by! It was dark by the time we got it to the house, the nights are really drawing in at the moment, but we still set about filling it up with household offerings! There was just the two of us on that first night so it took us a good couple of hours to load the back sufficiently to stop it all sliding about on the 50 minute journey to the new place. We trundled off down the motorway through the roadworks with signs declaring with an air of smugness "Major Roadworks - Delays possible for 2 years" followed by the 'doesn't help a bit' signs at the end assuring us that they 'Apologise for any delays'. These are roadworks that I will have to contend with every day now on my new trip to work!

My mum and dad awaited us at the farm willing to off load the gar into the sheds and house. We weren't able to put as much into the house as we had first thought because the plasterers were coming on Sunday to begin and it was deemed safer to keep the stuff outside rather than risk "The Dust"!
Saturday morning the pair of us filled another load into the van and it was sent on it's merry way to the Farm. I remained at House A to do further packing and some cleaning and to await the arrival of Moving Helper 1. When she arrived we set about doing, yes, you guessed it, more packing and the dreaded job of cleaning the kitchen! I can honestly say in about 3 years there I have cleaned the oven about once! (My mum cleans it whenever she arrives, which is odd as she has never cleaned her own she says, my aunt does that! That must be some kind of family tradition, you never clean your own oven!)
The van returned with Moving Helper 2 ensconced, we were now up to 5 helpers overall. Everyone headed back to the farm with this load of goodies, mainly the stuff from the attic - all that "ohhhhhh... that's where it went!!" stuff. After unloading this load when we got to the farm we got down to the serious business of celebrating Bonfire Night! Yes, I know we were a few days late but you've got to live dangerously! So it was burgers and bonfire and a few rockets on the top of our little hill on Saturday night.
Sunday was an early morning start as we needed to get the bed up the stairs before the plasterers started getting down 'n' dirty in on the stairs. As it happened they were half an hour late so we had plenty of time. After this there was only one more trip required to empty the house completely. It looks quite weird with nothing in it, I suddenly remember what it looked like when we first moved in! People have asked whether I will miss it and at the moment, no I don't, but I think that may be because it hasn't quite sunk in yet that I won't be going back!
The cats made there way to the farm on the last trip and they are a mixture of scared, interested and relieved. They are certainly happy to find out what happened to all their stuff, they were getting most disgruntled that we were stealing all their furniture.
We had our first night in the new house and had no heating! The plasterers wanted the heating off for a day to stop the plaster drying too fast and cracking! So it was a chilly night, a couple of blankets and a couple of cats to keep us warm!
There will be more updates soon but access to the Internet is limited at the moment, must get that all set up.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

How The Bathroom Progresseth..

The bathroom doesn't look a whole lot different from the original but I assure you there has been major progress. The main problem was that the immersion heater, which was on the wall just as you came in through the door was old and needed replacing. This has now been done, with one about 4 times the size and has been put in a cupboard upstairs, resulting in a nice toasty airing cupboard - see, there is some method to our madness.
The old bathroom suite has been removed, the bath kept - we are hoping to have that re-enameled and use it when we extend the bathroom. We have chosen a pretty plain suite as it was A) not very expensive and B) small! There is a shower unit that needs to be installed, this is being done as we speak.

Once again there is a lot of stuff going on while we chug away at work, it is most frustrating that so much is having to be done while we aren't there. We have both expressed our frustration at not being able to just 'get on with it' ourselves and at having to do everything by phone or trying to explain to someone else what they need to explain to someone else. We are both looking forward to the time that we are moved in and can take real control ourselves.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

How the Kitchen Progresses...

So the weekend saw the kitchen being blitzed. Farm Guy and Farm Dad set into fixing up the kitchen. As you can see it was a bare shell at the start, and somewhat full of crap!

So first things first, clear out everything that we don't need.
There, that's better:

After getting the first cabinet in, the one in the corner it was easy for Farm Guy and Farm Dad to start putting in the other units:

Then its time to get the wall cabinets up. This was not as easy as they first thought, only took them two hours to get it on the wall!! But it is up now and looks good!

So what was I doing while they worked away? Well, remember the liner papered corner, behind the fridge?

Well, I set to work painting it! Yes, still from behind the fridge! So now it looks like this:

Big fridge, isn't it!?